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tonyanwisconsinttonyanwisconsin Posts: 189
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:43 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
So all seemed to be going well in my recovery then the doctor ordered PT..Since I started 3 times a week last week my pain level has increased and I feel overall miserable. I didn't even go yesterday after talking to my therapist. On day 1 they had me on a bike,then treadmill, then other machines followed by the electric stimulation. Which I know some people like but I hated. They put it along my incision line and let me tell ya after 15minutes I was so glad to get it off. I told my therapist on the phone yesterday that I didn't think it felt good to have that on. Anyway just wanted to vent a little because I felt I was getting around so much better and now I am not. :(
I see my surgeon next week for follow up appt.


  • Sorry you're having so much pain after PT. I also had increased pain during PT and some days were better than others. I'm going twice a week.

    Definitely talk to your surgeon about it. I wasn't allowed to go to PT until 3 months out, so I wonder if it's too soon for you, but whatever the case, your surgeon should know.

    Did you ask the PT if it was normal to feel the way you're feeling after starting PT?

  • What is the electrical stimulator for?
    As long as my incision is completely healed, I will start PT after my next appointment in just over a weeks time.

    I would definately ask if it is normal to feel the way you do.
    Hope that things start to get easier for you soon.
  • maybe not...

    Maybe you're just feeling pain from exercising very weak muscles Tonya. When I first started PT post-op, like many, I felt pain. Some in my bones but mostly muscles and nerves. A lot of it was weak muscles and nerves firing. Some nerves waking up after a very long sleep. Some were actually on their way to firing like they should. Instead of all the time and locking muscles.

    If it hurts and feels like sore muscles that is one thing. If you feel it hurts beyond that then work with the PT. They should back off and try less or different things. We adjusted my PT a few times due to certain things causing flare ups.

    Also most certainly talk to your surgeon about it. My personal opinion is that PT is part of rehab. But it is supposed to help you rebuild. Not tear you down.

    Oh and on the electrical stim. Yeah, I thought that thing was a joke. The chiro I used to see years ago would use it. It has some value in the right case. I think these PT places like to use it because they bill your insurance for that and make a killing on it and the heat/cold pads. I told my PT no more electricity.

    Good luck.

  • Tonya~PT doesn't need to hurt. To hurt, is your body's signal that it is too much. To me, it seems like you would want to start with strengthening your core muscles with very small movements, after your core has strengthened, then you could move onto machines.

    The thing about machines is, there is no way to know if you are substituting muscles because of weakness.

    Would you be comfortable talking to your therapist? Asking if you could first work on core muscles and then build on that?

    The body is all inter-related. Mobility has to be build on stability ie core muscles.

    It is fair for you to ask for someone who specializes in Spinal cord/ortho or if anyone is certified in NDT.

    Another option is to have aquatics, where you can strengthen muscles without the force of gravity.

    Another issue could be that your body is out of aleignment which can be identified by your PT looking at your hips.

    As far as TENs on your incision, I would want the therapist to identify why she/he placed it there? Are you having issues with your insicion itself? Often TENS is used for swelling, & pain. So I am unclear as to why it was placed directly on the insicion.

    Is your PT being given by a PT, or a PT assistant or a PT tech? I am old school, but I truly believe at this point in your recovery, you should be seen the majority of each session by a PT.

    I hope this is helpful. Feel free to PM me if I can help more!

    Wishing you the best! Shari
  • Hi tonya,

    Just thought I would add this in, although I am from the cervical side of it. But when they put that thing on me after surgery it aggravated the nerves more than anything. It actually would make my blood pressure spike from it. We decided to do a EMG test and found that I have some permanent damage. All in all the vibrating stim was miserable for me. It just stirred my fried my nerve's up more is all. When the doctor finally figured out what they were doing and what was happening they stopped it. You might want to see if you can do therapy without the use of the vibration part they can use just ultrasound. If you have a good therapist they typically will work with you if you tell them something isn't right. A good therapist will adjust the therapy session to the patient on the given day.
  • I attempted aquatic PT early in my recovery(4 weeks), and after 3 weeks was in severe pain. I had to take off one month to recover from it, and when I restarted PT I eased into the second time. I still fine that if I try to bulldoze into anything that I pay the ultimate price...severe pain...Just did that myself last week and I'm 20 weeks post op.

    I did my exercises this morning and a few other things. Took my meds at an appropriate time, and now I'm lying down on my now beloved gel ice pack...done for the day. Tomorrow I will do the same.

    There is no shame in backing off when you develop severe pain from trying to get active again. The problem lies in not recognizing the culprit and regrouping when necessary.

    Good luck,

  • I agree with Lisa, I too have been having pretty severe pain with PT. SO much pain that in my last 2 visits all I get is massage for my cramping muscles, I cannot handle any thing else at this point. Muscles all away from buttocks to rib cage are gaurded. I made sure to take 1.5 muscle relaxers prior to therapy yesterday and these muscles still will not release. No stick this time Graham!!!

    If it hurts don't do it and be sure to explain to the therapist, sounds like you already know what's not right. My PT says I should not still be sore at 48hrs. And a TENS unit can be especially painful when you're are reinnervating. Mine is pretty worthless right now.

    Best wishes on a speedy recovery Tanya!!

  • So sorry to hear you having increase in pain with PT. Sounds like just need to slow down and work your way in. Hope your PT can work with you and ease your muscles back! Lynette
  • I saw a PT assistant last time and she was very understanding. She put me on the sit down stepper for 10min. Then she put me in room and said ok no more exercises today...She used ultrasound which was painful in spots so she lowered it..Then she did a deep tissue massage of my left buttock..lol...It hurt like heck but felt good at the same time. I am still having a lot of trouble with sciatic pain in left leg and calf. She said I was extremely tight and that this would be the route therapy took for a few sessions. I see the PT next week and he is a guy..not sure about having him massage my bare butt yet..lol
    Thanks for all the suggestions and comments. I see my surgeon this Thursday. Therapy wants to know how long I need to be in my brace. Will update after that appt.

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